Tuesday, February 7, 2012

{read: fictional portrayal of Flannery O'Connor} A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano

While I haven't read any of Flannery O'Connor's work, Ann Napolitano paints a three-dimensional portrait of this famous Southern author. She's not the focus of A Good Hard Look, but she's one of the critical characters. Cookie Himmel, who dislikes O'Connor, returns to her hometown of Milledgeville, Ga., to wed her rich fiancee, Melvin Whiteson, and settle down. Flannery has also returned to Milledgeville due to her worsening lupus. Out of spite, Flannery tells the happy couple that she'll give them one of her peacocks. Melvin goes out to the farm, allegedly to pick it up, but really just to see firsthand what this flock of peacocks is like. They kept the whole town awake with their screams the night before the wedding, and he's curious. An odd secret friendship develops between Melvin and Flannery, and that, coupled with decisions made by some other townspeople, result in two catastrophes that leave some of the characters wondering how they've ended up where they are and trying to deal with the consequences. This book started out a little bit light for me, but I liked it more and more as it went along. It's also another example of a book that I find myself thinking about well after I've read it.

A Good Hard Look by Ann Napolitano (Penguin Press, 2011)
My rating: 4 stars

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